Job: King County Emergency Management Director

This will be the 5th director in not quite 12 years.

by Eric Holdeman / November 29, 2018

My old job as Director of King County Office of Emergency Management is open again. This is not an easy position to fulfill. Note that there have been four directors since I left, and this will be the fifth. There are 39 cities in King County, 2M population, another 126 governments, and around 500 separately elected local officials ... :)  The county is about the size of Rhode Island. 

Then there is the salary — looks good doesn't it! But remember this, "Seattle’s median home sale price climbed to $819,500 in March 2018, gaining nearly $43,000 in value over last month’s record numbers." Today the median price of a home in King County is approaching $500K. The last director lived two counties south!  

And do you like traffic? It is 35 miles from my home to the KCOEM facility in Renton. In the morning, it will take 90 minutes in a "normal" commute. High traffic starts at around 5 a.m. To go to Bellevue, north of Renton, I'd allow another hour to be sure to make a meeting in the morning. I need a bathroom break!

Yes, there is a Deputy Director in place who I'm confident will apply ... which is always a consideration. 

Lastly, I would not ignore this element of the job: 

"We have a deep commitment to equity and social justice and advancing practices, strategies, and policies that promote fairness, justice, and opportunity for all — in our workplaces and our communities. With this commitment, King County has adopted a pro-equity agenda to advance regional change and ensure that residents from vulnerable communities are incorporated into our emergency planning and public outreach efforts."

To learn more, please visit

Both Seattle and King County have gone "all in" on "equity and social justice" so you need to be prepared to lead on that specific agenda as it relates to emergency management.

This position is not for the novice. I was told once a number of years back that the hiring authority was interested in having staff who have law degrees and United Nations experience. So there you go!